Question about odometer goals

So my understanding with odometer goals is that you were supposed to reach your goal in the timeframe you set - a day, a week, whatever. Some days I don’t make any progress on my goal, but others I make quite a bit, so theoretically it all balances out. However, when I go to put information in Beeminder, it will tell me I still have to do so much on the goal in a certain frame of time, so I end up putting extra (inaccurate) data so I don’t derail. Suggestions?

1 Like


All Beeminder goals are built around the idea of taking long term commitments and turning them into incremental commitments.

Odometer goals are set up so that you enter in your data as a total, instead of just the progress you have done since the last data point. For example, if you have a regular do-more reading goal to read a large book, you would enter how many pages you read since the last time you entered data, but if you have an odometer goal, you would just enter in the page number you got to.

Goals do ask you about your rate in terms of days/weeks/months, but it doesn’t get you off the hook and turn into “did you do the whole goal by the end date”. I’ve seen more than one person get snagged by this, and I wonder if the goal creation could be clearer.

The insight that it all evens out is the key one. If you either start with a little safety buffer, or build one up, you are “above the road” and you can work ahead some days and then skip some days… and Beeminder will make sure that you stay on schedule.

Let me know if you have any questions!


Ok so maybe I should change this to a do more goal. Thanks for the insight!

1 Like

Well, even if it’s a do more, Beeminder expects incremental progress. If you wait until the last day to make any progress, Beeminder is going to get pretty grumpy at you! :). If you need help structuring your goal, there’s lots of friendly folks here who can help out.


Feel free to be more specific with what your goal is. Chances are someone is doing something similar.

1 Like

I was trying to create a Beeminder goal to workout at a certain number of minutes at high intensity a week - currently I have the number set at 150. Theoretically that means I’d have to work out about 22 minutes a day at high intensity to achieve that goal. Some days my workouts are longer and more intense than others, so I don’t always get that many minutes in a day at a high intensity (as defined by my Garmin Vivosmart smartwatch). So of course, on the days I don’t reach 22 minutes a day on my odometer goal Beeminder is telling me I need to still do more to by the end of the day to reach the goal. Would a do more goal be better for me? Or should I just not track this at all with Beeminder?

Thanks for all your help/advice.

I think this is a thing that trips a lot of people up: the need to make an average amount of progress per day. The graph doesn’t care if you have time to “make it up” later; it’s just a straight line and it doesn’t inherently know that there’s three more days in the week, or whatever. Even when the rate is, as an example, theoretically 3/week, the graph goes up by 0.42 per day and you need to match that rate, either by doing more on some days and then taking days off (e.g. doing 1.26 on the first day, resting the second day, rinse and repeat) or by doing the exact amount it says per day. (Or of course by spreading it out unevenly through the week, as long as you stay at an average of 0.42 per day or more and are above the yellow brick road.)

So the thing I normally suggest is to start with more flat spot; the other would be to front-load some longer workouts that put you well above the line not just for that day, but enough to cover shorter workouts for several days.

(The other problem with the odometer goal is the thing @adamwolf mentioned about adding your cumulative total and not just your day’s total, but if you switch to a do-more goal that’s eliminated.)


Ok, set up a do more goal to see which works better for me…

1 Like

If your goal is to do 150 min/week , start with a beeminder goal of 200/week for a couple of weeks and see how that goes. You should target to be around the 7 days line, instead of “living on the edge” of continuous danger of derailing :slight_smile:

1 Like